Music startup TastemakerX has been described as a stock market or fantasy sports league for bands, but today it’s launching version 2.0, which co-founder and CEO Marc Ruxin described as “a totally new direction.”
The centerpiece of the new version appears to a feature called Collections, where users can highlight the artists that they’re most excited about. In a company blog post, TastemakerX described this as the virtual equivalent of all the physical ways music fans have used in the past to show off their taste — instead of posters and a carefully curated vinyl collection, Collections on TastemakerX include things like “Instagram photos, Songkick tour updates, YouTube videos, new track releases on SoundCloud, Tweets, news and reviews.”
This, the company said, also serves as “a unification layer” for all the other music services out there. As you see from the examples above, is pulling content from a wide range of services. And by following the Collections of other users, TastemakerX users can make sure they don’t miss any important updates:
Finding like-minded music fans is nearly impossible, and really what you need is the ability to be connected to the ones who are most likely to lead you to a lifetime of discovery and shared passion. Sure you could hope that your favorite social network happens to surface people who follow the same band or MP3 blog, but wouldn’t it be easier to merely search for a band, scan the Top Fans of that artist and then explore and follow their Collections? That’s how easy it will be.
Even though this is a new app, and even though co-founder and CEO Marc Ruxin is pushing this as a new direction for the company, you can still see elements of its past. It launched a version of the Collections idea back in March — though again, Ruxin insisted the new Collections are “totally different”.
And there’s still an aspect of the original pitch, namely rewarding users for finding and promoting hot bands first. Each artist will have Top Fans, who are assigned based on the engagement and influence that fan has around that artist, and also based on the date when the fan first added the artist. And each fan will have a Taste Score, which itself is based on Top Fan rankings, the aforementioned engagement and influence, and “the aggregate buzz-worthiness of their Collection.”
I asked Ruxin via email about the app’s usage, and he said, “No traction thus far, because we launch tomorrow,” though he added that traction for the previous version was “decent”. (Given his emphasis on making this a fresh start, Ruxin is probably hoping for better this time around.) I also asked what he learned from the old version, and he replied:
Keep it as simple as humanly possible. Focus on super clear and fun on boarding. Give people a compelling to come back unprompted. Make it irresistible for to people to share and get peers using the product. Music matters, so encourage people to transfer … that passion for music to the passion for sharing and connecting over music.
TastemakerX’s investors include AOL Ventures (which, like TechCrunch, part of AOL).